In embedded chips and connected car news tips this week were TomTom, Samsung, Audi, Uptane, OpenSynergy, Intersil, CalAmp, PG&E, Velodyne, RDS, Daimler, On Semiconductor, Dialog Semiconductor, AGC, Yanfeng, Faraday Tech and rPlate. Please note you can still vote for the Tech CARS Awards until January 31.
TomTom Buys Autonomos
TomTom announced that it has acquired Autonomos, a Berlin-based autonomous driving start-up. The acquisition strengthens TomTom’s position in autonomous driving.
Autonomos has provided Research & Development consultancy services for automated vehicle assistance systems and has built up expertise and technologies in the process, including a full demonstration-level autonomous driving software stack, 3D sensor technology, and digital image processing. The company was established in 2012 after the founders had worked for several years in successful autonomous driving research projects at the Free University of Berlin.
With the acquisition of Autonomos, TomTom is joined by a team that traces its lineage back to the DARPA Grand Challenge competitions. The team will advance TomTom’s map-based products for autonomous driving applications. Having an in-house autonomous driving stack will enable TomTom to better serve customers with its products, including its HD map, RoadDNA localisation technology, as well as its navigation, traffic and other cloud services.
Samsung PSCP with Audi
Samsung Electronics announced its participation in the Audi Progressive SemiConductor Program (PSCP) as a partner supplier of Exynos processors, its own System-on-Chip (SoC) solution, for Audi’s In Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) system.
Audi’s PSCP was first initiated in 2010 to quickly implement the latest technologies that satisfy its highest standard in robustness, performance and quality for automobiles. As a key partner, Samsung will be supplying its flagship Exynos processors for Audi’s next-generation IVI system.
With multiple OS and multi-display support, flagship Exynos processors can operate up to four different domains and displays stationed in the vehicle at once. Exynos processors’ powerful computing and graphic processing performance delivers highly graphical user interface on displays for deeper user engagement.
Open Source Framework for OTA in Vehicles – Uptane
Aconsortium of researchers t announced the development of a universal, free, and open-source framework to protect wireless software updates in vehicles. The team issued a challenge to security experts everywhere to try to find vulnerabilities before it is adopted by the automotive industry.
The new solution, called Uptane, evolves the widely used TUF (The Update Framework), developed by NYU Tandon School of Engineering Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Justin Cappos to secure software updates. Uptane is a collaboration of NYU Tandon, the University of Michigan Transport Research Institute (UMTRI), and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and is supported by contracts from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate.
Uptane goes beyond TUF in order to address the unique problems posed by automotive software. For example, it allows automakers to completely control critical software but to share control when appropriate – for example, when law enforcement needs to tune a vehicle for off-road conditions. It also helps automakers to quickly deploy secure fixes for a vulnerability exploited in an attack or to remotely (and inexpensively) update a car’s electronics.
The Uptane research is led by principal investigators Cappos at NYU Tandon, Sam Lauzon at UMTRI, and Cameron Mott at SwRI. The Uptane design and software is available at https://uptane.github.io.
OpenSynergry Software Hypervisor for ARM
OpenSynergy paves way for next-generation autonomous devices with virtualization for ARM’s most advanced real-time processor
OpenSynergy is developing the industry’s first software hypervisor for the ARM® Cortex®-R52 processor, ARM’s most advanced real-time safety processor. The hypervisor turns any chip based on the Cortex-R52 into several virtual machines capable of simultaneously executing separate software tasks. To address increasing software complexity in devices such as autonomous vehicles and industrial control systems, this approach allows for the isolation of safety-critical functions from those that require less stringent control. In addition, it enables the consolidation of applications onto fewer electronic control units (ECUs) to both manage complexity and reduce cost.
Intersil Extends life of LiFePO4 Batteries for eCall
Intersil a leading provider of innovative power management and precision analog solutions announced the ISL78693, a 3.6V single-cell battery charger that extends the life of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries used in automotive emergency call (eCall) systems. The ISL78693 battery charger offers up to 4x lower leakage current (3uA) than competitive chargers, allowing the eCall backup battery to remain charged for a longer period of time. See a demonstration of the ISL78693 in Intersil’s booth #E30-11 at the Automotive World conference, January 18-20 in Tokyo, Japan.
V2I eCall systems must be capable of operating reliably and autonomously from the backup battery at a moment’s notice, even if the vehicle is involved in an accident minutes after being parked for several months.
CalAmp to Hijack Lojack to Improve Supply Chain Pefermance
CalAmp announced it will leverage its acquisition of LoJack to enter the cold chain and supply chain visibility markets with CalAmp Supply Chain Integrity (SCI), an enterprise visibility solution for multinational firms to secure goods in transit, improve supply chain performance and help meet regulatory compliance.
Increasing regulatory requirements and competitive pressures to reduce costs and improve efficiencies are driving the need for real-time visibility of product location, availability and condition in distribution channels. To address these needs, CalAmp is leveraging its industry leading expertise in telematics and its acquisition of LoJack to provide real-time information, monitoring and alerting of critical in-transit cold chain-related movement of goods. CalAmp SCI combines GPS and RF beacon cargo sensors and tracking devices with supply chain applications and access to its SC iOn™ Command Portal to allow customers to track and document chain of custody, physical integrity and logistics efficiency. With real-time, web-based visibility of goods in transit, supply chain stakeholders can prevent loss, maintain compliance with business rules and regulatory requirements, and monitor environmental conditions such as temperature, light and humidity to document compliance with regulations.
PG&E Gives $500 to Each EV Customer
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced the launch of the Clean Fuel Rebate for residential, electric customers who are electric vehicle (EV) drivers. The new Clean Fuel Rebate is part of California’s statewide Low Carbon Fuel Standard initiative, which aims to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the adoption of clean fuels like electricity. Transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in California at 40 percent. Since the Clean Fuel Rebate comes from a statewide program, residents who have electric service from another provider in California may be eligible for a similar rebate from their electric utility.
New Megafactory for Velodyne
Velodyne LiDAR announced the opening of a Megafactory that will significantly ramp up production of the latest 3D LiDAR sensors to meet high global demand.
Located in San Jose, CA, the enormous facility not only has enough space for high-volume manufacturing, but also for the precise distance and ranging alignment process for LiDAR sensors as they come off the assembly line. The Megafactory is already producing Velodyne’s HDL-64 LiDAR sensor, with production ramping up across Velodyne’s entire product portfolio and more than one million LiDAR sensors expected to be built in the facility in 2018. That high-volume manufacturing will feed the global demand for Velodyne’s solid-state hybrid LiDAR, the primary and critical instrument needed for autonomous car systems around the world.
In addition to the San Jose Megafactory, Velodyne LiDAR has also opened a new research and development facility in Alameda, CA.
RDS to Broadcast Emergency Vehicle Warnings
In Stockholm, ambulances will soon be piloting a system that interrupts whatever you’re listening to – be it CDs, Bluetooth or the radio – and broadcasts a voice warning that an emergency vehicle is heading your way.
Developed by students at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the solution involves a radio transmission from the emergency vehicle to nearby FM tuners that are equipped with Radio Data System (RDS).
The signal is sent over the FM band along with the transmission of a text message that appears in the tuner display, says Florian Curinga, one of three students at KTH who developed the solution – called EVAM System – and founded a startup, H&E Solutions, to take it to market.
Crashes involving motorists who didn’t hear sirens are becoming more common thanks to improvements in sound insulation, Curinga says.
Daimler Buys PayCash
Daimler Financial Services AG announced today that it is acquiring the electronic payment services provider PayCash Europe SA. By gaining a foothold in the ePayment business, Daimler AG will be launching its own electronic payment services provider under the “Mercedes pay” brand name.
On Semi’s New Touch/Proximity Sensing
ON Semiconductor introduced a new touch/proximity sensing solution that combines industry-leading performance, cost effectiveness and convenience in a single chip. The LC717A30UJ high dynamic range capacitance-to-digital converter uses mutual capacitance to detect changes in capacitance down to femtofarad (fF) levels. Parasitic capacitance cancellation raises the detector sensitivity, while its built-in noise rejection mechanism combats the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI).
The eight capacitance-sensing input channels make the LC717A30UJ highly optimized for use in systems where an array of switches is required.
As the device’s sensitivity has a range of 150 millimeters (mm) – beyond the scope of any competing device on the market – its higher sensitivity enables gesture motions as well as offering conventional touch functionality.
The LC717A30UJ delivers rapid responsiveness, with a measurement time of 16 milliseconds (ms) for its 8 sensing channels and runs off a +2.6 volt (V) to +5.5 V supply with a low-power standby mode of one microampere (µA).
Dialog IC (PMIC)
Dialog Semiconductor announced the DA9210-A power management IC (PMIC). The DA9210-A is a multiphase, automotive grade, 12A DC-DC buck converter that supplies the high current core rails of microprocessor devices, including those used in next generation infotainment systems taking center stage in today’s connected cars.
DA9210-A is designed to meet the stringent functional, quality and reliability demands of automakers and their customers. It is optimized for the supply of CPUs and GPUs, and can support load currents of up to 12A in single-chip configuration and 24A in dual parallel configuration. The PMIC’s high efficiency over a wide output range makes it suitable for powering some of the newest and most demanding innovations of today’s connected cars, from infotainment and navigation systems to full-scale integrated cockpits and future heads-up displays (HUDs).
AGC Glass Substrates
AGC Asahi Glass (AGC), a world-leading manufacturer of glass, chemicals and hightech materials, announced it has developed a diverse line of glass substrates specifically designed for semiconductor packaging applications and semiconductor manufacturing process support.. Wafer-level packaging (WLP) technology – in which the IC is packaged while still part of the wafer – has made remarkable progress with next generation semiconductor and MEMS devices. This has resulted in a growing need for glass wafers – in particular, those that can match silicon’s coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), thus eliminating the warping that occurs when attempting to directly laminate silicon and glass wafers whose CTE values differ.
Yanfeng Deploys Robots for Production
Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI), the global leader in automotive interiors, has deployed two of Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer robots in its Monroe, Michigan-based facility. By introducing Sawyer, YFAI Frenchtown is improving two production processes, while freeing up employees to be used at positions where they can add more value.
Both Sawyer robots are being utilized to perform packaging tasks. One robot is removing trapped labor by packing parts from a conveyor onto a rack, handling 180 parts every 54 minutes. The second robot is counting parts from a conveyor as it places them into a tote, precisely packaging each tote with 80 parts.
Sears Auto Digital
The Sears Auto Digital Tire Journey is being created to provide tire recommendations based on the driver style through a customer’s response to the question, “When it comes to tires, what’s most important to you?” A soccer dad may answer, “I am concerned about driving my kids safely” so tires that have higher safety ratings are presented. After the user types in an answer, the Digital Tire Journey shows what type of driving style they have with the help of the Watson Natural Language Classifier service. The tool then recommends tires with consumer ratings to assist drivers in making an informed purchasing decision.
Faraday Tech ISO
Faraday Technology Corporationhas received the certificate of ISO 26262 (Road vehicles-functional safety) from SGS-TUV Saar on its design development process. Faraday is the first ASIC design service company in the world approved to ISO 26262; it demonstrates that Faraday is capable of implementing the automotive functional safety standard on its hardware design from product concept to mass production.
To penetrate the automotive application market, Faraday has built a taskforce team of AFSP (Automotive Functional Safety Professional) certified experts, including R&D and technical account service managers, responsible for developing automotive safety techniques. Complete IP functional safety mechanism and documentation are established and integrated into Faraday’s ASIC design service.
rPlate IoT Digital License Plate
Created by Reviver, the rPlate modernizes the 125-year-old license plate, bringing it into the 21st century by transforming it into an innovative, multi-functional digital display and offering a major aesthetic and design upgrade for the only part of the vehicle that has remained unchanged since the automobile debuted. This smart device is an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that offers unlimited opportunities for applications, including DMV registration automation, hyper-local messaging, telematics and vehicle management.
Messages on the rPlate can dynamically change based on geolocation configuration, in and out of a dealership’s PMA (Prime Marketing Area). Reviver has also incorporated programming for emergency broadcasts like extreme weather warnings and Amber Alerts, as well as VIN-specific recall notifications, into its digital display. The rPlate can also automate the payment of toll road charges, parking fees and much more.
The rPlate houses a GPS, accelerometer, RF sensors, CAN bus access, storage and is built to withstand all weather and extreme conditions. The rPlate’s 6″ x 12″ display is the same size as a standard state license plate and its anti-reflective screen is legible in all weather conditions.